There exists a difficulty in expounding the Gospel of John, notwithstanding the transparent simplicity of his style. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, John is a seer. He arrives at truth by intuition, not by argument. He does not reason, he simply sees. And it is fitting that the Apostle who lay upon Jesus' bosom, and who is called the Disciple whom Jesus loved, should apprehend the truth quite as much through the sympathy of the affections as by the exercise of the understanding. In the highest and purest sense of the word, John was the mystic of the Apostolic college, as Paul was the logician. The latter goes down with his massive reasoning into the bosom of the law, and seizes the eternal principles of justice and of right, and holds them up before the eyes of men; And then he lays the whole work of Jesus Christ over against these, and establishes the fact of our justification in the sight of God.
Luke's focus in Jesus' baptism is on the opening of the heavens, the coming down of the Holy Spirit on Jesus and the words of the Father out of heaven.
With the opening of Heaven we stand before "the humanly incomprehensible and the unfathomable divine" Geldenhuys. "Heaven opens itself, which hitherto was closed, and becomes now at Christ's baptism a door and window so that one can see into it...." - Martin Luther. "We are not told what became visible when the heaven was suddenly opened as we are told in the case of Ezekiel and of Stephen. Yet we may well say that the Heavenly Glory was visible, and that John and any others who were present beheld its radiance." - Lenski
To modern, 20th century Americans, Roger Williams is the one "shining light" in the midst of that whole sorry "darkness" which was the Puritan era in this country. But ole Roger "put 'em in their place" and single-handedly made this country a great place to live and rear chllin'". According to the accepted story, the Puritans were an extremely intolerant folk, paranoid over anyone who didn't believe precisely as they, and utterly unwilling to consider differing views. Because of this, they cast out Roger Williams (that gracious, sweet-spirited man who only desired religious liberty). He was banished from Massachusetts Bay, merely because he was a Baptist and forced to flee from his persecutors by making an heroic escape into a harsh, New England winter.
On Stone or Sand: The Ethics of Christianity, Capitalism and Socialism by Michael Kelley Pleroma Press, Box 242, Carson, N. D. 58529 c. 1993241 pp., pb. $10.95.
The Kingdom and the Power: Rediscovering the Centrality of the Church by Peter J. Leithart, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., P.O. Box 817, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865 1993 269 pp. incl. index pb.
Obedience to the Laws of God: The Sure and Indispensable Defense of Nations by Ashbel Green, Reformed Presbyterian Press, P.O. Box 402 Elmwood Park, NJ 07407, 38 pp. pb. $3.95, 5 or more copies are $2.00 each.